First try-scorer tips:
Rabbitohs: Aaron Gray at $11
Eels: Semi Radradra at $9.50
THIS Friday night sees two teams that are both unaffected by State of Origin duty, which should shape up for a great NRL contest.
The Rabbitohs are coming off a close contest against the Melbourne Storm where there were plenty of positives to come out of the loss, but improvement is needed quickly on season which has yielded only four wins from 11 games.
Coming up against the Eels won’t be an easy task, despite the Eels coming into this fixture having lost its last two games.
Losses to the Raiders and the Roosters have put the Eels on the back foot after recorded three consecutive wins prior to that, but its stack of offensive power makes them a threat whenever they take to the field.
Bevan French, Semi Radradra and Clinton Gutherson make for an impressive trio in the back line and the Rabbitohs will have its hands full trying to contain the noted try scorers.
The bookmakers have the Rabbitohs as the early favourites, but this should be a close contest which could even be decided in extra time.
With so much offensive talent on display, we look at the top try scoring hopes and the best try-scoring odds are available with Sportsbet.com.au.
Rabbitohs team line up and try-scoring odds
The Rabbits welcome back Braidon Burns, Cameron Murray, David Tyrell and George Burgess.
Aaron Gray plays only his second game of the season and the noted try scorer has been well-fancied in betting markets.
Having Robbie Farah in the line up will help with the hooker missing out on State of Origin selection for the Blues.
1. Cody Walker – $13
2. Alex Johnston – $8.50
3. Hymel Hunt – $17
4. Bryson Goodwin – $15
5. Aaron Gray – $11
6. John Sutton – $31
7. Adam Reynolds – $26
8. Thomas Burgess – $46
9. Robbie Farah – $36
10. Robbie Rochow – $41
11. Kyle Turner – $34
12. Angus Crichton – $23
13. Sam Burgess – $23
Alex Johnston has been in hot try-scoring form this season with six tries from 11 games. The Rabbitohs winger has a high error count of 10 for the season, but his ability to score tries can keep the Rabbitohs in contention.
The Rabbitohs typically struggle to score points – with only three players having scored more than three tries this season, but Johnston has been playing well which is why he’s the current favourite at $8.50.
Another quality player for the Rabbitohs is Aaron Gray, who is playing just his second game for the season.
Gray was scoring with ease last season and the winger should get plenty of try-scoring opportunities again. Fullback Cody Walker has a team high 11 try assists and if he can link up with Gray in the corner, the $11 at Sportsbet will look like great money early on.
Punters should also look for Robbie Farah to make a statement after missing out on Origin selection. He’s an inconsistent player, but he has scored his season and that could continue here.
Eels team and first try-scorer market
It’s safe to say the Eels are stacked, especially in the backs department. Michael Jennings is out due to injury, but the core remains in tact and it’s exciting.
The Eels have added five players in an extended bench, most notably Brad Takarangi in the centres.
1. Bevan French – $11
2. Semi Radradra – $9.50
3. Brad Takarangi – TBA
4. Kirisome Auva’a – $20
5. Josh Hoffman – $14
6. Clinton Gutherson – $23
7. Mitchell Moses – $26
8. Suaia Matagi – $67
9. Kaysa Pritchard – $34
10. Tim Mannah – $61
11. Manu Ma’u – $31
12. Tepai Moeroa – $34
13. Nathan Brown – $36
It’s no surprise to see Semi Radradra at the top of the betting. The Fijian superstar has scored six tries already this season and we think there’s plenty more to come.
He does a power of work throughout the game, having had 158 runs (behind only Nathan Brown’s 170), which is why he probably hasn’t scored a try a game so far.
The Eels have been forced to use him across the park and the error count has risen to 17, but he’s still a try scorer at heart and he could get the game off to the right start for punters.
Take the $9.50 at Sportsbet which is a fair price for the quality winger.
The other Eels player tickling our fancy is Bevan French who has a wealth of speed. The fullback has scored three tries from six games and looks electric when he’s in the mood.
French is more of a roaming fullback who asserts himself into the game and the $11 is a good value price for punters.
Rabbitohs vs. Eels game tip
We think the wrong team has been favoured in this match up. The Rabbitohs are a solid side coming off a tough loss to the Storm, but the Eels have playoff aspirations.
With the amount of strike power in its side, it’s hard to see the Rabbitohs staying strong enough on defense to limit the Eels to less than 24 points.
That’s likely what it will take to win this game so we’ll happily take the Eels at the underdog price.
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